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Suggested approaches: Before writing

You can follow use these suggestions to introduce talk into learning to help pupils become writers.

Building the 'habit' of talk

Establish with pupils the different types of talk used in learning. This can be linked to writing – make the point that writing shares some similar conventions and purposes, but also significant differences. For example:

  • exploratory (hypothetical)
  • evaluative (reasoning)
  • disputational (argue)
  • desultory (random, process talk).
  • Explore the learning objectives and assessment focuses for Speaking and listening.
  • Build in opportunities for pupils to decide on purpose, audience and range of styles.
  • Use a range of printed and audio-visual stimuli to engage pupils and explore complex ideas.
  • Familiarise pupils with open, task-based learning approaches that give them opportunities to discuss and plan the approach to the challenge or problem.
  • Plan opportunities for dialogic talk – Alexander explains, this as a ‘purposeful and productive dialogue where questions, answers, feedback (and feedforward) progressively build into coherent and expanding chains of enquiry and understanding’.
  • Pupils learn to share plans and approaches using graphic organisers, for example flow charts and trees.

Extract from Talk in teaching and learning: international perspectives by Alexander, R © Qualifications and Curriculum Authority 2003. First published in New perspectives on spoken English in the classroom. Discussion papers.